In a conference filled with terrific rivalry trophies and totems, Floyd of Rosedale may be the very finest.

Floyd is a Pinocchio — Pignocchio? —  in reverse.

He started as a real pig to settle a bet between state governors in 1935, and has since turned into a 98-pound bronze trophy. (Ironically, given the current state of things, the real Floyd died of cholera less than a year after being won by Minnesota because he was mistakenly assumed to be vaccinated against the disease. No word on whether he oinked that he had been “immunized” in an attempt to mislead his new farmers.)

This year’s battle for the pig has more at stake than a bronzed porker. It’s a de facto Big Ten West semifinal. The winner will stay alive with Wisconsin and potentially Purdue in the race to represent the West in the Big Ten title game.

For the loser, there’s no pig. Virtually no shot at the conference title. Only sadness.

For the past 6 years, only one of these teams has experienced that sadness: Minnesota. The Golden Gophers haven’t beaten the Hawkeyes since 2014, when Jerry Kill’s squad put together a surprise 51-14 whipping.

Kirk Ferentz is now 16-6 against Minnesota after an 0-2 career start. In fact, Minnesota’s last win in Iowa City came in Ferentz’s first season — 1999. Probably not the way Prince would want his hometown school to pay tribute.

Here are our final thoughts and a prediction for the 2021 showdown for Floyd of Rosedale.

Riley Moss: Iowa’s defensive boss

Iowa’s season has gone straight to the pigpen after senior cornerback Riley Moss hurt his knee on a second-quarter interception against Penn State.

Yes, the Hawks held on for that win and found themselves at No. 2 in the country as a result. But it became clear that Moss is the straw that stirs the entire defense’s drink in the 2 games that followed. Iowa, then the nation’s leader in interceptions, didn’t produce any in losses to Purdue and Wisconsin.

Iowa picked off 3 passes at Northwestern last week and finally returned to the winner’s circle as a result.

Now they are likely to get Moss back for the first time since Oct. 9 — amazingly, the last time they played at home.

You might wonder what impact Moss will have against a team that passes as infrequently as Minnesota, but that hasn’t stopped him in the past. Moss has 4 career interceptions against the Gophers.

Alex Padilla: Offensive sparkplug, or solved on tape?

Replacing the injured Spencer Petras behind center, Alex Padilla led Iowa out of its recent offensive doldrums at Northwestern. And it is pretty telling how dull those drums were when we are categorizing a 17-13 win as an offensive breakout.

Nevertheless, Padilla looked nice against the Wildcats, completing 18 of 28 passes for 172 yards.

But Iowa fans might want to pause a moment before crowning Padilla as The Answer.

Northwestern’s defense was prepared for Petras. Padilla had attempted only 14 passes all season, so his tendencies probably made for less than 10 minutes of prep time for Northwestern’s defense.

Minnesota has a great deal more information to tailor a game plan against Padilla’s strengths. Sometimes it can be easier to be the guy who comes off the bench. We’ll learn a lot about where the redshirt freshman is at as a starter.

Strength on strength

Naturally, the hogs up front will determine Floyd of Rosedale’s fate.

Minnesota is third in the conference with an average of 207.3 rushing yards per game. Iowa ranks second against the run, allowing just 98.6 yards per game.

However, one team has been able to crack the Hawkeyes up front — Wisconsin, which gained 166 yards on 48 carries. The Gophers have a similar offensive line profile, providing some hope that they could become the second team to have a modicum of rushing success against Iowa.

Tanner Morgan’s defining moment

After a sparkling sophomore season — 30 touchdowns, 7 interceptions — Tanner Morgan’s game has regressed to the point where his name is practically a pejorative in Minnesota.

Morgan flat-out stinks this season. He has 6 touchdowns, 7 interceptions and averages 150 yards per game — 94th nationally in passing yardage.

But if he can become the first Golden Gophers quarterback to lead his team to wins over Iowa and Wisconsin in the same season since 1990, and a trip to the Big Ten title game in the process? No one’s going to remember those stats.

In Minnesota, redemption will be spelled M-O-R-G-A-N.

A prediction: Iowa 23, Minnesota 13

That whole bit about Morgan’s redemption? Product of a healthy imagination.

More likely scenario: This game is close late. Morgan throws a backbreaking interception that the Hawkeyes either return for a pick-6 or use to establish short field position for the points that make this a 2-score game.

A quarterback as interception-prone as Morgan going against the nation’s top takeaway defense that also happens to be getting its best cornerback back is a troubling recipe for Minnesota.